ESP Project Leader Profile: Debra Lee

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

In this ESP Project Leader Profile, Debra Lee shares her expertise in online course development in business English for Ukrainians displaced by the Russian/Ukrainian conflict.

Her bio describes her as follows:

Debra (M.A., Teaching English as a Second Language, Memphis; J.D., Tennessee College of Law; M.S. Instructional Technology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville) is a language teaching specialist and technology coordination at the English Language Center, Vanderbilt University. Professional interests include e-learning, use of technology for learning, and English for specific purposes (ESP). She has designed and taught online courses in synchronous and asynchronous formats since 2002. She has also consulted with the U.S. Department of State in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East on curriculum and materials development as well as legal-English program design. She is co-author of American Legal English.

Debby is the second ESP project leader to be working at Vanderbilt University. (The first was Susan Barone.) She is also one of several ESP project leaders who have been involved in projects with the U.S. Department of State. In the TESOL ESP Interest Section, I worked together with Debby to monitor the mailing list when she was community manager. Debby has also been ESPIS chair. (Here is a list of all ESPIS chairs.) Further, Debby was the first ESPIS representative in a leadership exchange program with the IATEFL ESP Special Interest Group.


Debra Lee, PhD candidate, M.A., J.D.
Language Teaching Specialist, Vanderbilt University

How would you define leadership?

Leadership is communication and empowering others as they develop professionally or personally. Communication is the willingness to value opinions other than your own. When two-way communication is the norm, people are more likely to understand why a leader must occasionally make decisions that are not universally liked.

Tell me an ESP project success story. Focus on your communication as a leader in the project. How did you communicate with stakeholders to make that project successful?

Project: Career English Online (CEO) for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Ukraine

With Ukrainian teachers, I helped create an online course to teach business English to Ukrainians displaced by the Russian/Ukrainian conflict.

Project Background

The Regional English Language Office (RELO) in Ukraine asked me to work with Ukrainian teaching professionals to create an online course for people displaced by the Russian/Ukrainian conflict. Levels of the students were anticipated to be A2/B1. Four developers learned how to use the free version of Canvas, a U.S.-developed learning management system (LMS), created course materials, and then acted as lead teachers for two other teachers during the pilot of the CEO program, which had a total of twelve teachers teaching 20–25 students each.

Project Steps

  1. Reviewed potential LMS platforms, checking bandwidth and other issues for use in Ukraine. Chose Canvas (free version).
  2. Informal needs analysis of IDPs during a face-to-face meeting in Ukraine.
  3. Ukrainian teachers wrote and tested pilot program (1 week course introduction, followed by 8 modules of two weeks each). Blended course with asynchronous, synchronous, and face-to-face meetings. Student recruitment by Ukrainian NGO. During the pilot program, I worked with the four lead teachers helping them with issues and questions. Many of the twelve teachers had never taught online before.
  4. Revised pilot program based on student and teacher feedback. Ran course a second time with same twelve teachers. Recruitment by NGO continued. Levels of B1/B2 were most likely to complete the course. Took this into consideration during the revision.
  5. Revised a second time, shortening to four one-month programs fully online in asynchronous/synchronous form, with option for students to take one or more one-month modules. Recruitment by teachers and developers with assistance by the RELO office. Program is currently ongoing and will likely continue in the future.

Final Deliverables

  • Ukrainian-developed and -delivered Career English Online course that has numerous applicants each time it is offered.
  • Additional Ukrainian online course developers and teachers with confidence to create and teach their own online courses.

Key to Project Success

Listening to needs of teachers and students. Being a colleague and understanding that local teachers’ understanding of the situation and the course was much more complete than mine ever would be no matter how many needs analyses and course reviews I read.

Communication with Stakeholders

For online course developers, autonomy is key. Help when needed and no more. Stay in communication with funders and work with them to discuss potentially sensitive issues, such as language capabilities or plagiarism by developers. U.S.-funded projects follow U.S. plagiarism guidelines, which are different from many other cultures.


Debby’s responses above illuminate how to achieve success in an international project funded by the U.S. Department of State. In connection with communication and needs analysis, I was inspired as I read how highly she valued the local teachers’ perceptions of the situation. It was also interesting to read how she needed to communicate to her students the importance of U.S. law related to communication. With her background in law and her expertise in communication and online course development, it seems to me that she was an ideal leader for the project.

Do you have any comments or questions for Debby? Please feel free to contact her directly.

All the best,
Kevin

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/esp-project-leader-profile-debra-lee/

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Books About Social Justice and Recent U.S. Events

Activism and social justice have been in the news since the beginning of the 2016  presidential election.  During the first few months of 2017, it has taken the form of marches, protests, and letters and phone calls to Congress. These events provide real-life models that teachers can use to talk about activism and social justice with young students who are very invested in what is fair and not fair. One way to facilitate this discussion is to link what is happening in the U.S. to characters in books who are activists.

In the list below, I have posted several links to books for young children on this topic. I start with four of my personal favorites and move to some lists that I like of books about social justice. I am looking forward to the books that might be written because of the activism that has taken place in 2016–2017.

  1. As Good As Anybody by R. Michaelson is about Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Joshua Heschel. At a time when the United States was plagued with civil unrest, King aimed to put a stop to it. Heschel grew up in a Europe that did not welcome Jews. This is the story of two idols who work for social justice and how they turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of equality for all. (Grades 2–5)
  2. Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson and Eric Velequez is a wonderful story of youth involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. The story focuses on two young girls who sneak out of their home to join a march for freedom with Dr. Martin Luther King. (Grades K–3)
  3. Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by L. Thompson. Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, Emmanuel was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy in 2001, Emmanuel bicycled 400 miles across Ghana, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. (Grades K–3)
  4. Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by D. Rappaport. Elizabeth Cady Stanton called on women across the nation to stand together and demand to be treated as equal to men-and that included the right to vote.

Here are some lists for addition books for young activists and their social justice issues.

  1. Empowering Middle School Books for Kids: Barnes & Noble has published this list of books for middle school students about social and political activism. This list includes stories that take place in countries around the world. Although the reading level for these books may be too high for Grades 4–6, teachers could read them to their classes.
  2. Picture Books about Social Justice: Allison McDonald, who writes a blog called No Time for Flashcards, is passionate about social justice issues. According to McDonald, one way to teach young children about social justice is to read with them. Her list of picture books can be used with children in Grades Pre-K–3.
  3. Children’s Books for Women in Politics and Women Activists: This list is focused on picture books for young children. It includes biographies and books about women who have helped advance the rights of women.
  4. 35 Picture Books for Young Activists: This list was complied by Carter Higgins, a children’s librarian at an independent school in Los Angeles. This is a comprehensive list with books about civil rights activism. activism in Africa and the Middle East, and other places.

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/books-about-social-justice-and-recent-u-s-events/

💫St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! 💫

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273

💫💫St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner!  💫💫

  I love using this holiday to teach about idioms!


What is an idiom?
Idioms are words that don’t mean what they say!  They are usually a group of words, well known and used by native speakers of a language, that can’t be understood by the individual meaning of the words.



Why teach idioms?
Students develop a clear understanding of idioms with direct instruction, read-alouds, teacher modeling and student-centered activities.  According to readwritethinkteaching idioms offers students the ability to further comprehend texts that contain metaphorical and lexical meanings beyond the basic word level.

Here is one way to teach idioms:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273 
·      When presenting idioms to students, introduce a group of 4 to 5 idioms together.   It is best to group the idioms into a category, for  example; before St. Patrick’s Day teach idioms that use green in them!
·      Always use stories or relate personal conversations to introduce each idiom in context.
·      Use an Idiom Journal to record the idiom and it’s meanings.  Don’t forget a picture.
·      Practice by offering students a student centered activity.

Now you are on your way to teaching idioms!


I like these idioms for green!
·      Get or give someone the green light
·      Green with envy
·      Grass is always greener on the other side
·      To be green
·      Green thumb
·      Green around the gills


Here are some fun sites for idioms!
·      My English Teacher
·      Learn English


What are some of your favorite idiom activities!  I would love to hear about them.


Happy Teaching,

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language http://esleld.blogspot.com/2017/03/st-patricks-day-is-right-around-corner.html

Books About Social Justice and Recent U.S. Events

Activism and social justice have been in the news since the beginning of the 2016  presidential election.  During the first few months of 2017, it has taken the form of marches, protests, and letters and phone calls to Congress. These events provide real-life models that teachers can use to talk about activism and social justice with young students who are very invested in what is fair and not fair. One way to facilitate this discussion is to link what is happening in the U.S. to characters in books who are activists.

In the list below, I have posted several links to books for young children on this topic. I start with four of my personal favorites and move to some lists that I like of books about social justice. I am looking forward to the books that might be written because of the activism that has taken place in 2016–2017.

  1. As Good As Anybody by R. Michaelson is about Martin Luther King, Jr., and Abraham Joshua Heschel. At a time when the United States was plagued with civil unrest, King aimed to put a stop to it. Heschel grew up in a Europe that did not welcome Jews. This is the story of two idols who work for social justice and how they turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of equality for all. (Grades 2–5)
  2. Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson and Eric Velequez is a wonderful story of youth involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. The story focuses on two young girls who sneak out of their home to join a march for freedom with Dr. Martin Luther King. (Grades K–3)
  3. Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by L. Thompson. Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, Emmanuel was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy in 2001, Emmanuel bicycled 400 miles across Ghana, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. (Grades K–3)
  4. Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by D. Rappaport. Elizabeth Cady Stanton called on women across the nation to stand together and demand to be treated as equal to men-and that included the right to vote.

Here are some lists for addition books for young activists and their social justice issues.

  1. Empowering Middle School Books for Kids: Barnes & Noble has published this list of books for middle school students about social and political activism. This list includes stories that take place in countries around the world. Although the reading level for these books may be too high for Grades 4–6, teachers could read them to their classes.
  2. Picture Books about Social Justice: Allison McDonald, who writes a blog called No Time for Flashcards, is passionate about social justice issues. According to McDonald, one way to teach young children about social justice is to read with them. Her list of picture books can be used with children in Grades Pre-K–3.
  3. Children’s Books for Women in Politics and Women Activists: This list is focused on picture books for young children. It includes biographies and books about women who have helped advance the rights of women.
  4. 35 Picture Books for Young Activists: This list was complied by Carter Higgins, a children’s librarian at an independent school in Los Angeles. This is a comprehensive list with books about civil rights activism. activism in Africa and the Middle East, and other places.

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/books-about-social-justice-and-recent-u-s-events/

💫St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner! 💫

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273

💫💫St Patrick’s Day is right around the corner!  💫💫

  I love using this holiday to teach about idioms!


What is an idiom?
Idioms are words that don’t mean what they say!  They are usually a group of words, well known and used by native speakers of a language, that can’t be understood by the individual meaning of the words.



Why teach idioms?
Students develop a clear understanding of idioms with direct instruction, read-alouds, teacher modeling and student-centered activities.  According to readwritethinkteaching idioms offers students the ability to further comprehend texts that contain metaphorical and lexical meanings beyond the basic word level.

Here is one way to teach idioms:
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/St-Patricks-Day-Idioms-2271273 
·      When presenting idioms to students, introduce a group of 4 to 5 idioms together.   It is best to group the idioms into a category, for  example; before St. Patrick’s Day teach idioms that use green in them!
·      Always use stories or relate personal conversations to introduce each idiom in context.
·      Use an Idiom Journal to record the idiom and it’s meanings.  Don’t forget a picture.
·      Practice by offering students a student centered activity.

Now you are on your way to teaching idioms!


I like these idioms for green!
·      Get or give someone the green light
·      Green with envy
·      Grass is always greener on the other side
·      To be green
·      Green thumb
·      Green around the gills


Here are some fun sites for idioms!
·      My English Teacher
·      Learn English


What are some of your favorite idiom activities!  I would love to hear about them.


Happy Teaching,

from Fun To Teach ESL – Teaching English as a Second Language http://esleld.blogspot.com/2017/03/st-patricks-day-is-right-around-corner.html

Magical Moments in the Lives of Business English Learners

Hello, ESPers worldwide!

I was recently watching the February 2016 TED Talk by Stephen Wilkes, which is described as follows:

Photographer Stephen Wilkes crafts stunning compositions of landscapes as they transition from day to night, exploring the space-time continuum within a two-dimensional still photograph. Journey with him to iconic locations like the Tournelle Bridge in Paris, El Capitan in Yosemite National Park and a life-giving watering hole in [the] heart of the Serengeti in this tour of his art and process.

The title of his TED Talk is “The Passing of Time, Caught in a Single Photo.” However, the “day to night” approach is not time-lapse photography.  It involves the collection and then selection of “magical moments” captured on film from one location and from day to night. The day-to-night compositions are indeed stunning.

When I viewed what Wilkes was doing, the power of the day-to-night approach hit me  from a metaphorical perspective.
In this connection, the Riddle of the Sphinx came to mind:

Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed and two-footed and three-footed?

Answer:  Man—who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age. (Source: Wikipedia)

We can also view our lives as a day-to-night experience. Our birth is the sun rising, and our death is the sun setting.

As I watched Wilkes’ TED Talk with students who had arrived early to a business English class, these ideas rushed into my head. So, at the start of class, I pointed out that throughout our lives we have magical moments, such as those that Wilkes captures on film, and we keep such moments as our “precious memories.” In doing so, we are actually doing the same thing as Wilkes. We are building a composition of the magical moments of our lives, from birth to death. Of course, our compositions are not yet finished.

I then asked the students to talk in pairs about the magical moments in their lives and the compositions that they were creating.  One magical moment for me was seeing the light of excitement in the eyes of one of my students, who was 84 years old, as he explained (to his partner in the class activity) his ideas about making a composition consisting of the magical moments in our lives.

A short time after the business English class, I had the opportunity to show the “day-to-night” TED Talk to a group of unemployed adult learners who were preparing for job interviews in a government-sponsored Hello Work program. In this context, I asked the students to reflect on their lives, their professional careers, and their success stories in view of the day-to-night approach. I reminded the students that each of their precious memories contained “stars” (or impressive details) that made their stories shine brightly. I asked the students to look for those stars and include them in their job interview responses.

In connection with my business English classes, I have come to recognize that the business professionals (active and retired) who register for such classes are there for various reasons.  The majority of the students need to learn English for professional communication in their workplaces. One reason that senior learners (such as the 84-year-old man) come to my classes is to keep their minds sharp as they age. Other students come to class because they have the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with interesting people outside of their workplaces.  Over time, the students in my classes develop professional networks and become friends. Accordingly, they register for the same classes for years. I have even been invited to speak at the wedding receptions of couples who have met their spouses in my classes.

I have come to view TESOL International Association and the English for Specific Purposes Interest Section (ESPIS) in the same way as my business English classes. Have you ever thought about why we stay involved with TESOL and the ESPIS? Why do we return to the TESOL annual convention year after year? What do we stay involved with the same interest section and the same people? There are many different professional and social reasons, including friendship.

What are the magical moments in your life? What does your life composition look like? I highly recommend that you take the time to watch Wilkes’ TED Talk and to reflect on and be grateful for those magical moments of light, goodness, and love in your own life.

All the best,
Kevin

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/magical-moments-in-the-lives-of-business-english-learners/

Resources for Beginning L2 Writing Teachers

In this post, I’d like to share a few resources that might be helpful for beginning second language (L2) writing instructors. They include books about teaching L2 writing, resources for teachers offered by online writing labs, a professional journal, a professional conference, and a professional community.

Books About Teaching L2 Writing

Harmer, J. (2006). How to Teach Writing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

This practical guide is designed for teachers, who, as the author of the book stated in the introduction, “are interested in writing as a process and in the variety of types of writing, and who would like to use their understanding of these ideas in the activities they offer their students” (p. v). The book covers various topics related to teaching L2 writing, such as writing purpose and genre, generating ideas, teaching mechanics, and responding to writing.

Mussman, D. (2013). New Ways in Teaching Writing II. Alexandria, VA: TESOL Press.

As with other books in TESOL’s New Ways series, this volume offers practical ideas and lesson plans that can be implemented in a writing classroom. Materials in the book are divided into six sections: (1) getting started, generating ideas, and having fun; (2) development—writing and building paragraphs; (3) expressive writing; (4) academic writing; (5) personal and business correspondence; and (6) peer reviews, revision, and giving feedback.

Ferris, D. R., & Hedgcock, J. S. (2014). Teaching L2 Composition. Purpose, Process, and Practice (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Described by the authors as a “comprehensive theory-to-practice text,” this book covers virtually every topic related to teaching second language writing, including composition pedagogies, student populations and instructional contexts, designing a writing course, classroom assessment, responding to student writing, and the development of writing skills in the writing class.

Hyland, K. (2015). Teaching and Researching Writing. New York, NY: Routledge.

This is a great resource for both beginning and experienced writing instructors. The book is divided into four sections: (1) concepts and issues, (2) applying writing research, (3) researching writing, and (4) references and resources.

For the description of other valuable books on second language writing, visit the webpage for the Symposium on Second Language Writing at Arizona State University.

Online Writing Labs Resources

Purdue OWL

The Purdue online writing lab (OWL) is a rich resource that includes materials for teachers and students. The materials for teachers are available in PDF format, so they can easily be used as classroom handouts. For easy navigation, I suggest using the website map.

Writing Studio at Colorado State University

This writing lab is sponsored by Colorado State University. Just like the Purdue OWL, it offers numerous materials for student writers and writing instructors. Be sure to check out the Teaching Activity Bank, which provides materials for classroom activities, including class discussions, small group activities, and peer review. The materials are available in various formats, including HTML, Word, and Adobe Acrobat.

The Excelsior College OWL

This online writing lab has an attractive interface and lots of interactive features. The writing materials include not only verbal explanations but also videos that you can use to supplement your lessons. It has materials for teachers as well as a full list of resources.

Guide to Grammar and Writing

The materials in this comprehensive guide on grammar and writing are divided into three sections: (1) word and sentence level (e.g., types of sentences, word order punctuation), (2) paragraph level (e.g., paragraph development, transitions, and coherence), and (3) essay level (e.g., writing process, essay structure, and patterns of organization).

Professional Conference

Symposium on Second Language Writing

Symposium on Second Language Writing (SSLW) is an annual professional conference that is designed for teachers, researchers, and graduate students interested in issues related to second and foreign language writing. Each year, the conference is devoted to a particular theme. I try to attend the symposium when I can. (I’ve shared my thoughts on the SSLW-2014 in an earlier blog post.) This year, the symposium will be held in 30 June to 2 July in Bangkok, Thailand, and the theme is Assessment in Second Language Writing.

Professional Journals

Journal of Second Language Writing

This international journal covers issues related to second and foreign language writing and writing instruction. As the journal website states, the Journal of Second Language Writing publishes “theoretically grounded reports of research and discussions that represent a contribution to current understandings of central issues in second and foreign language writing and writing instruction.”

Read about other journals related to teaching writing here.

Professional Community

TESOL Second Language Writing Interest Section

Whether you are a beginning or an experienced writing instructor, connecting with the professional community will be beneficial for your professional development. The Second Language Writing Interest Section (SLWIS) brings together scholars, classroom instructors, and graduate students interested in issues related to L2 writing. It offers numerous resources, including newsletters and webinars, and it helps its members to connect with each other through the e-list, the Facebook page, and the annual gathering at the TESOL convention.

from TESOL Blog http://blog.tesol.org/resources-for-beginning-l2-writing-teachers/